Prince Charles outlines green reporting vision

prince charles

Companies should report on five key environmental indicators, a report
sponsored by the Prince of Wales has said.

They should reveal their polluting emissions, energy use, water use, their
waste and their ‘significant use of other finite resources’.

The Prince’s report,
for Sustainability
, was hailed by BT chairman and former KPMG chief Sir Mike
Rake as providing the simplest and most comprehensible environmental reporting
framework there was.

Between six and a dozen major companies – including Sainsbury’s, BT, Aviva,
EDF Energy and HSBC – are now set to implement the rules as part of their

The five key indicators are the most practical consequence of the Prince’s
report, which includes other recommendations about sustainable reporting,
benchmarking and the up-stream and down-stream impact of companies.

Sir Mike Rake, who has been involved with the project, said the report was
much better than other attempts to hone environmental reporting. ‘Some of them
are very, very complicated. Sometimes less is more,’ he told Accountancy

The Global Reporting Initiative, he said, was by contrast ‘extremely
expensive and detailed, and loses the ability to be comprehensible.’

The five key areas outlined would not be the end of the issue, he added –
where material companies would have to report other key environmental factors.

Though the take-up of the recommendations is likely to be voluntary, Lord
Sharman, also a former KPMG chairman, indicated that the companies act already
imposed a general burden on companies to report such information.

Sir Mike suggested ‘peer pressure’ would be as important as any formal
requirements too.

At a high-profile launch at St James’ Palace attended by a who’s who of the
senior members of the profession – including Paul Boyle, the chief executive of
the Financial Reporting Council, comptroller and auditor general Sir John Bourn
and other senior figures – Prince Charles said that accountants must fulfil a
central role ‘in providing the tools and information needed to tackle climate
change and the “sustainability revolution” that is hurtling down the tracks
towards us.’

The project has also set up a website to provide tools for companies in their
environmental reporting and in implementing its ideas. Available at,
readers can also download the latest report from there.

Further reading:

for Sustainability homepage

Related reading

Fiona Westwood of Smith and Williamson.